Category Archives: Doctrine

After justice, mercy comes


God both just and merciful (David Pawson) on thisiswhatihavetosay

God is both merciful and just.
Justice can only go so far.
Thereafter, mercy takes over and goes further.
~ David Pawson – Unlocking the Bible ~

And we thought it had to do with money?!…


this is what i have to say - and we thought it was all about the money

“‘Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.’ They brought the coin, and he asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s'” (Mark 12:15-17).

What are “the things that are God’s”? Presumably, whatever bears the image of God. Jesus then was saying, “Give your money to Caesar; it has his image on it, and thus belongs to him. But give yourselves to God. You bear his image, and you belong to him.

(extract from Erickson’s “Christian Theology Second Edition”).

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Is what you believe a means to an end…


… rather than an answer to why?

thisiswhatihavetosay : why - do you have the answer to the question of life

In the movie the Matrix Reloaded, the main characters meet the Merovingian (a trafficker of information) and the following discourse takes place:

Morpheus: You know why we are here.
Merovingian: … The question is, do you know why you are here?
Morpheus: We are looking for the Keymaker.
Merovingian: Oh yes, it is true. The Keymaker, of course. But this is not a reason, this is not a why; the Keymaker himself, his very nature, is a means, not an end, and so to look for him is to be looking for a means to do…what?

It is interesting how closely this is related to the question of our humanity. Here are the different explanations given as to why we exist (1):

  • We are a machine – we are valued for what we do or can do (achieve)
  • We are an animal – human nature is defined almost exclusively in terms of stimulus & response (instinctive)
  • We are sexual beings – where it is believed that all human behaviour is derived from sexual motivation (Freud)
  • We are economic beings – our behaviour is believed to be derived from self-interest (materialism)
  • We are a pawn of the universe – humans are locked in a cosmic struggle between forces more powerful than ourselves (not aliens)
  • We are free beings – where free will is seen as the essence of human personality and self-determination seen as THE great virtue
  • We are social beings – the prime significance of human beings lies in their position and function in a web of social relationships; our human nature is therefore not distinctly defined but relative to our relationships with others

But if you look carefully at them – and as the Merovingian rightly pointed out above – these views simply point to only a part of the reality of our existence, not the why we exist. We could paraphrase the discourse above as follows:

Morpheus: You know why we are here.
Merovingian: … The question is, do you know why you are here?
Morpheus: We are looking for ….

  • recognition (machine)
  • physical / sexual gratification (animal / sexual being)
  • wealth / possessions (ecomic being)
  • freedom to do as we please (pawn / free being)
  • significance (social being)

Merovingian: Oh yes, it is true. The (insert reason here), of course. But this is not a reason, this is not a why; [recognition, physical / sexual gratification, wealth / possessions, freedom to do as we please, significance] themselves , are by their very natures, a means, not an end, and so to look for them is to be looking for a means to do…what?

To glorify God and to enjoy him forever.(2)

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Notes:
(1) – via Martin Pohlmann’s notes on Systematic Theology, BTC Randburg, South Africa
(2) – Westminster Cathecism, via via Martin Pohlmann’s notes on Systematic Theology, BTC Randburg, South Africa

Hell is not Heaven: So let’s stop talking about it


Christ Statue image courtesy of watcharakun / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I read a blog post recently that touched on the subject of hell (click here to read it). It was a good post with some interesting points that I’m still brooding over. But it wasn’t the post that got my attention and sparked this post here – it was the comments section. In particular, there were these two guys going back and forth over this and that, in terms and phrases that required of me to pull out my dictionary a few times just to understand what they were saying to each other.

What particularly caught my attention was the one guy speaking of degrees of torment in hell, and I’m like thinking “So what”. What if there are degrees of torment or not, whether we are completely annihilated (obliterated) or not? Whether hell exists physically or not, should really not be a matter of grave concern to Christians. The matter of the fact is that hell is a place where God is not and I simply don’t want to be there, regardless of whatever manner of shape or form that might be.

For a long time Christianity was marked by the fire and brimstone messages that made one fear hell more than God. People were ‘coerced’ into Heaven because they didn’t want to go to hell (and burn and suffer for eternity), instead of being encouraged to simply love God and remain in His presence now and in Heaven forever. Then Liberal Christianity took a swing the other way with statements that said hell does not exist, that a loving God would not allow His creation to suffer for eternity. And because there is such a wide variety of thought on hell (read ofdustandkings’ post), I now prefer the stance that hell is a place totally removed (or devoid) of God (period). Whatever else may be said about it, is pure speculation and borders on the realm of the imaginative.

The only reason that I can muster why people talk about hell so much is because they are prideful (in their knowledge) or want to justify their behaviour in disobeying God. As to the latter, they are making hell out to be an okay end of life place to be, just in case they land up there one day. You see, if we focus on what it is like instead of it being void of God, then we don’t mind going there and inevitably start to ‘stray’ from God.

Now, I am not suggesting that we discard or disregard the doctrine of hell as it was a significant part of Jesus’ ministry (read ofdustandkings for references). But what I am saying is that we must be exceedingly cautious of focusing too much attention on it. In fact, for the most part, most people would be far better off talking about how to be getting involved in church life and being equipped to do the work of the ministry (see Ephesians 4:11-12), rather than talking about hell.

When confronted by the question of what you believe about hell, keep it ‘simplistic’ and simply say that hell is a place where God is not.

And then proceed to tell them what Heaven is like (see Revelation 7:16-17, 21:1-7) and how they can get there (see Romans 10:13 & ACTS 4:12).

What are your thoughts on this? Am I missing the boat or do we need to engage more on hell with unbelievers? Should believers be talking about hell? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Scripture references:
Unless otherwise stated, all references are from the New International Version (NIV)

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Revelation 7:16-17 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. (17) For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 21:1-7 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (2) I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (5) He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (6) He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. (7) He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Rom 10:13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Of Fairies, Fancies, and Fantasies


A Facebook friend of mine recently posted a picture of what was claimed to be the mummified remains of a fairy, with a comment / caption that fairy remains had been found and that we must decide for ourselves. Well, it didn’t take long for me to determine that the picture / story was a hoax. A very quick and simple search on Google took me to snopes.com with an article wherein which the person who had committed the hoax, had confessed that it was an April fools hoax in 2007.

What surprised the original hoaxer though was that even after he had confessed to it being a hoax, many people were undeterred and still believed the story, including the existence of fairies. What was more interesting though was his statement that a previous fairy hoax (the Cottingley Fairies), had only been determined / revealed to be a hoax after 50 years. That is a long time for a hoax to be active and believed. And this saddened me even more.

You see, if a story (hoax) had gone on for 50 years, it is very probable that there were people who had heard the story and died believing that story. They died believing that fairies were real. They died believing that there was more than God. They died believing a lie.

I simply cannot understand why is it that people run after all sorts of stories that in the end prove to be misleading or false. Why can they simply not just read the Bible and be happy with it? Read the rest of this entry

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